Arena says it is considering sale

Steve Dinneen
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THE UK’s largest racecourse operator Arena Leisure yesterday confirmed it is considering a sale of the company.

Last year billionaire property investors David and Simon Reuben raised their stake in Arena Leisure to a level just shy of 30 per cent, which was expected to trigger a takeover bid for the company.

It is thought the pair may still be interested in taking control of the firm. They could not be reached for comment by City A.M. yesterday.

Arena, which owns and operates seven racecourses in the UK, including Doncaster, Royal Windsor, Lingfield Park and Wolverhampton, said a strategic review has just begun and there is no certainty it will result in an offer for the company.

Earlier this year Arena won a catering contract for two key venues at the 2012 London Olympics, which is expected to boost its profits by up to £1m.

The company, which posted an adjusted pre-tax profit of £5.4m last year, said in May that 2011 profitability was unlikely to see a “material uplift” from last year as consumer confidence remained fragile.

Arena’s shares, which have gained 22 per cent in the last three months, closed at 37p yesterday.